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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 15, 2010 6:00pm-6:45pm EST

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the little boy handed of the parachute back to the priest and said not to worry, father, the smartest man in the world just took off with my backpacked. [laughter] let me talk briefly about my new book, quote cohen in defense of thomas jefferson." thank you for coming. i really appreciate that. i believe my book once and for all proves that the saudi -- sally story is certainly not historical fact or science. in mauney view it reflects recycled in accuracy that has metastasized book to book from over 200 years. let me preface my remarks by saying i am not a professional historian like merrill peterson. i am not a jeffersonian scholar. the past 26, 27 years, my
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expertise has been in the courtroom persuading juries, giving the most persuasive arguments, persuading evidence to a jury. so as a civil litigator i tried to analyze and research every scholarly book, article, a committee report, 18th-century letter and ancillary material relevant to the single inflammatory subject of whether thomas jefferson had a sexual relationship with sally hemingses. writing this book i gained access to never before seen correspondence and personal interviews with the jefferson the insiders intimately involved in the distorted and misleading dna. they revealed how evidence was manipulated into a censored predetermined official conclusion giving a false stigma
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of jefferson's guilt to the american public. in contrast to the blizzard of recent agenda driven books, spending the controversy as a mini series of history i found layer upon layer of evidence points to a mosaic distinctly away from mr. jefferson with one inevitable conclusion, the historians have a wrong jefferson. the dna as well as the other historical evidence matches perfectly to his younger brother, randolph, as the true candidate for a sexual relationship with sally. quite simply, my book presents the most credible evidence which completely exonerates mr. jefferson. let me give you a summation if i were a trial lawyer defending mr. jefferson in court, let me give you my summation, my final
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argument to you as a jury and as to a jury in the public arena. ladies and gentlemen of the jury, today the reputations of america's founding father seemed to be in disrepair. 21st century americans seem skeptical of preakness. just as oliver wendell holmes of serve, quote, badly in arguments always have a force through their own but you and i believe that high mindedness is not possible and meant. but this proves one of two things, thomas jefferson is either the most prolific hypocritical lawyer in american history, or he is the effect of the most profane, scurrilous defamation of character allegation and legal analysts. there is no middle ground, there is no compromise.
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the evidence since the inception of the sally net 200 years ago many americans want passionately to believe thomas jefferson fathered some or all of sally's the five children whether or not the evidence supports this charge or not. the legend jefferson took sally as his lover refuses to die because it is not good enough for some to know that his brother or his nephew, peter, kept sally as the mistress from neither randall norris nor peter can be made a symbol for america indignant revisionism however is not a substitute for concrete facts and relevant evidence. a blatant speculation is not drawn with a sharp pencil but a broad brush. thomas jefferson both of the man
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and his family amount to something more important than sordid gossip now obscure in his memory. the hemingses case against mr. jefferson rests on three skeletal pieces of evidence that i want to talk about tonight. framed by a selective exclusion of all of the exculpatory evidence pointing to mr. jefferson's complete innocence. number one, the hearsay testimony of selling some, madison who gave an interview to a politically biased editor in 50 years after the fact stating that he, madison, was the son of thomas jefferson. member to come the unreliable documentation stating the physical presence of jefferson at the time of each of sally's conceptions and a number three, the misleading dna which would
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be excluded in a real trial and discredited in whole or part so let's talk about the most credible evidence that completely exonerated and proclaims mr. jefferson's innocence and let me borrow from david letterman's the five top ten reasons a but expendable but these are the top 16 reasons why thomas jefferson did not have a sexual relationship with sally hemingses the top 16 reasons thomas jefferson did not have any relationship with sally hemingses. number one, i feel like i need a general. randolph jefferson jefferson's youngest brother is most likely sally's sexual partner. he would have the same jefferson chromosome as his older brother and match perfectly the dna. randolph had a reputation for
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socializing with the sleeves at night and he was expected at monticello approximately nine months before esten was born, what a coincidence. this was proven by a letter that i found in the university of virginia archives. this is not miracle incidents since the oral history of esten 's descendants in 1976 held that they descended from a jefferson on goal. randolph was known at monticello as on will randolph. number two the misleading dna results would be excluded any real trial because it did not come to thomas jefferson. the d-nd was taken from descendants of his paternal uncle as soon as the beginning
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was admitted to the troy of the results were gross distortions at best an utterly misleading at worst they matched a male jefferson, of thomas jefferson. randolph jefferson had six male sons. thomas jefferson had all female children except for an infant who died within two weeks of. the dna match was to a male child. the dna does not exclude or flout either one or both of the car brothers as the father of sally's children except for esten. he admitted his paternity to jefferson's grandson, john f. randolph. finally eight other jefferson males in and around monticello
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are candidates for esten hemingses. number three, the relent rumor was first started by the unscrupulous scandal mongering journalists, james calendar who durham for political revenge against jefferson. he was described as, quote, an alcoholic thug with a foul line and obsessed with race and sex who intended to defend the public career of thomas jefferson. by today's standards he would be the equivalent of a reporter for the national enquirer. historian james strassel adams wrote, quote, almost every scandalous story about jefferson which is still whispered or believe it may be traced to the right things of calendar. as the historian jordan stated calendar's charge has been dragged after jefferson like a dead cat through the pages of
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formal and informal history. thus the allegations against mr. jefferson were suspect from the beginning because they issued from the vengeful penn of an unscrupulous man and were prominently promulgated in the partisanship. get this was asked to believe that after calendar brought broadcast lives to the world and 1802 thomas jefferson was so brazen as president to have two more children with sally hemingses. this devah is good, common sense. member for, the one credible eyewitness to this entire sexual allegations is edmund bacon. edmund bacon was jefferson's overseer at monticello who saw another man, not jefferson and
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he wrote this down, not thomas jefferson, another man leaving sally's room, quote, many mornings. bacon fruit, quote, i have seen him come out of her mother's room many mornings when i went to monticello very early. number five, jefferson's health, jefferson's health especially the last two decades of his life would physically prevent and otherwise dissuade him from a vibrant sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. he suffered severe migraine headaches, diarrhea, rotatory arthritis, diabetes and emotional distress over of loss of his wife, the death of his daughter and his finances. it is simply beyond common sense to believe he was having an ongoing sexual relationship at
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the age of 64. he complained to john adams, quote, my health is entirely broken down within the last eight months. number six, jefferson owned three different slaves named sally adding to the historical confusion. yet he never freed his suppose it lover of 38 years sali hemingses from her enslavement or ever mentioning her in his will. number seven, the paternity believers rely heavily on the sketchy circumstantial evidence of the birth records of all of sally's children to prove that jefferson was present in monticello during all of sally's conceived presidencies. this is absolutely false since it assumes that sally was also present all the times jefferson
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was present in monticello. sally's simultaneous physical presence in monticello with jefferson is completely unknown by any record of evidence. it is false and misleading assumption skews the entire timing debate. in fact there is a specific letter in 1802 from jefferson to his daughter which reasonably implies that sally as long as her sister may have been elsewhere besides monticello. number eight, the confusing testimony of madison hemingses who gave an interview to an abolitionist editor has been discredited and amounts to nothing more than scripted here say, gossip and speculation. moreover, his capacity to observe events that occurred some 40 years earlier lacked certainty, clarity and veracity. madison was coached by a
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politically activist editor, s.f. wetmoore had a political bias against jefferson as a slaveholder and as against the south in general. in fact, it is clear that he a radical abolitionist wrote some or all of madison's interview verbatim himself based on the calendars original articles in 1802 using some of the very same language. number nine, three are witnesses who knew both sally and jefferson, martha his daughter, ellen coolidge, jeff randolph, his grandchildren all found the accusations inconceivable and never witnessed any hint of sexual liaison or impropriety. in fact this isn't a scintilla of evidence to prove the
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cohabitation or any physical intimacy between jefferson and sally during the 37 years she lived in monticello on and off. most importantly at least four witnesses proved jefferson was not in physical proximity to sally for 15 months prior to the birth of her son who most resembles jefferson. martha randolph, thomas jefferson randolph, george randolph and biographer henry grindle. number ten, in the year 2001 there was little noticed of the 13 member blue-ribbon panel of prominent historians black, white, male and female known as the scholars commission. after a year of investigating history's most famous paternity case, the independent historians known as the scholars commission
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tamped down the allegation and this was the finding. quote, our conclusions range from serious skepticism about the charge to a conviction that it is almost certainly false. there is 13 scholars, quote, our conclusions reached from serious skepticism about the charge to a conviction that it is almost certainly false. the most expert, the most notable independent jefferson scholars who lent their expert opinions to this jury and agreed that the accusation of an affair lacks not only credibility but would be outside of the moral character of thomas jefferson said the preeminent historian donald reserved on the panel and to one interviewed personally, quote, thomas jefferson was simply not guilty of the charge.
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mcdonald and other panel members appointed to the real suspect, jefferson's brother, randolph. in fact the scholars commission concluded the most logical and credible evidence points to randolph who wasn't married in his early 50s and was known for socializing with the monticello slaves. randolph on like his accomplish brother was easily influenced by others in fact i found an old milledge a list reveals connections between randolph and white man with black mistresses into case is both hemingses tuna more importantly the scholars commission concluded revisionist sleeve historians had misread language and in folks psychological explanations to misinterpret jefferson's motives. the sally story reflects one of the most striking derelictions
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of scholarly integrity in the american his geography. 11, jefferson never denied the accusation publicly although he denied it in private ridings to the two cabinet members. both levi lincoln, his attorney general, and his secretary of the navy, robert smith. to deny the allegation of public however would have been to slander the reputations of his father-in-law, john wilson who was reportedly the father of sally hemingses. his beloved wife's memory and even his own brother, randolph or his two favorite nephews, the car brothers who admitted their paternity of sally's children to jefferson's great children's pieces grandson, jeff randolph. as a man of devotion and family honor, jefferson chose to suffer in silence.
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number 12, the hemingses true believers like professor annette gordon-reed have turned the debate into an obsessive agenda on the color of sally's skin and slave status. annette gordon-reed assessment the madison interview must be taken on face value because white historians had previously ignored its are not facts but racial canards and misinterpretations of the evidence itself. moreover, that is an intellectually dishonest argument. to paraphrase one historian, quote, i'm afraid professor gordon-reed despite her of murder will qualities is the worst thing to happen to thomas jefferson since james calendar. the sleeve historians have taken diversity and created a hostile
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environment in the academic world in which scholars feel pressured to accept the hemingses left as historical truth. ladies and gentlemen of this jury, justice is supposed to be color blind and meter race more agenda or by yes at anyplace in a court of law or court of public opinion. the only question before this jury is what is the most credible and reasonable and be believable evidence, not jefferson's view on the race or slavery. but whether it is proven beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt as to whether he had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. 14, when it came to women, jefferson's true nature was sheepish, some would say
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awkward, but certainly not lustful. his marriage proposal to his first love, rebecca, was in 1763, and that illustrates the point. jefferson was so nervous he could barely ever his words. he later reflect on his disastrous experience in the famous apollo room at the raleigh tavern just a few blocks from here. he said he was overwhelmed with a strange confusion that deteriorated into a few broken sentences. later he was tranquil in his life at monticello with his wife whom he called patty and after her death he was deeply conflicted over his romantic feelings for the married maria causeway in paris. the sexual allegations and conduct toward sally as contrary to jefferson's refined and
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reticent nature towards women. number 14, some paternity beavers are quick to believe jefferson was a brutal request slaveholder coming get wind jefferson of life that monticello from paris after a five-year absence, his servants were so overjoyed to see him that the unhinged his sources, pulled up his carriage to the last mountain and carried their master into their arms into the house. quote, it seemed impossible to satisfy their anxiety to touch and kiss the very earth that bore him, patty jefferson, his daughter, route 15, the hemingses what have you believe that the absence of any letters to or from sally and thomas jefferson are evidence of a family cover up.
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this is one of the many ex samples of the total lack of information as proof of their sordid allegations. it merely shows some ardent revisionist headings historians will fill in the blanks to convert the innocent information and incriminating information. 16, finally, perhaps the most important point in mr. jefferson's's favor on like his brother by taste and training, thomas jefferson was raised as the perfect virginia gentleman to read a man of refinement, intellect, taught and trained at the college of william and mary and taught and trained by george. the personality of the man who figures in the hemingses opera cannot be attributed to the
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unknown nature of thomas jefferson. having an affair with house servant would be preposterously out of character with thomas jefferson. jefferson was arguably the most accomplished man who ever occupied the white house. naturalist lawyer, educator, musician, architect, a geographer, inventor, scientist, farmer, philosopher and more. james, one of his biographers characterized his subject as a man, quote, who could eclipse, calculate and eclipse, survey and estate, tashi and artery, plan an edifice, try a collis, break a horse, dance a minuet and play the violin and he was
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describing a young thomas jefferson before he wrote the declaration of independence. commenting on president john f. kennedy's assassination in 1967 walter cronkite said, quote, only in fiction do we find that the loose ends are neatly tied real life is not all that tighty and neither is the jefferson case. coming to terms with jefferson isn't easy for some in the 21st century. jefferson was no saint but none of his biographers claimed he was. no one will deny the fact is about the paternity of sally's children are ripples of evidence of one of the worst aspects of the slave system. the manner by which some enslaved women were sexually abused by their masters.
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but the hemming smith has now come hartel circle. citizens of albemarle county passed a resolution, quote, vindicating the memory of mr. jefferson from posthumous slanders with regard to his private character. these individuals were his neighbors who had the opportunity of personally knowing the true state of the facts. you know, when you visit monticello it is but a short walk from the west lawn, there is a cemetery, you feel closer to history. you feel closer to thomas jefferson who once wrote, quote, politics was a subject i never loved and now. without a doubt the hemingses controversy and bodies mr. jefferson's sentiment. on his deathbed, jefferson spoke
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of the slander and libel against him uttering a, quote, they had never known him. they had created an imaginary being closed with ots attributes to whom they had given his name, and of quote. unfortunately, as the pulitzer prize-winning historian burgeon yes avenue said jefferson, quote, is one of the principal historical victim's of the current orgy of debunking our heroes. finally, only to people know the true absolute truth. one was sally hemingses who brought herself in the manteau to become a little silence her life. she never commented on the accusation. perhaps she believed it deserved nothing more. as historian john seymour commented, quote, we know virtually nothing of sally
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hemingses or her motives, and she is hardly more than a name in history. the other witness was thomas jefferson who denied the charge to friends and colleagues declaring that, quote, truth is great and will prevail if left to herself. she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error. ladies and gentlemen of the jury, as jefferson's granddaughter proclaimed, there are such things as moral and possibilities. and although the sally rumor survives no reasonable sensible person hearing all the evidence, not just annette gordon-reed speculation, but hearing all the evidence has ever declared his or her believe and neither should this jury thank you very
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much. [applause] guy willoughby glad to take any questions. c-span just wants you to raise your hand and i will be glad to call on you. yes, sir. >> white you feel there's nothing in the record about somebody seeing something to whoever was doing this that you're causing a lot of heartburn to the president? even if he denied twice which ensure your correct why didn't somebody either send the nephew or the brother to virginia beach or someplace? >> did everyone here the question? while i think some of his friends in fact james madison
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acted as an intermarry between himself and calendar, i think other people were trying to distance himself from calendar up the time but i think jefferson's -- i think his whole approach to the affair was to have a moment of silence, not to comment publicly on the slanders and he didn't feel any one of really needed to defend him, because in his view if you deny or admit one slander another ten are going to come up to you so that was his public stance that he wouldn't deny it in public because what ever she deny or admit it, something else would come up. but i think there were other people behind the scenes, james madison and monroe, telling him to distance himself particularly from calendar. ..
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of the paternity, would you care to speculate why they may have done that and would you be willing to, or have you been invited by the association in monticello to debate professor reid? on the subject? >> i would be glad to debate professor read anywhere anytime. i have a chapter in my book about the political agenda that i think the official monticello has. i think they do have an and had an official of really agenda to kind of approach to this story for whatever purposes to get more business, to raise more money, to have a higher prominence profile of monticello, but i really really disagree with it.
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in the fact i took to tourists recently of monticello and the sally story was prominent in the tour guide that i took and i didn't say anything because i was going to write this book but i certainly think that the thomas jefferson memorial foundation found it for the legacy to preserve the legacy of the thomas jefferson should either not mention this or take a very neutral stance. in fact, they just excised the word a memorial from their foundation, is no lager the thomas jefferson memorial foundation. it's the thomas jefferson foundation. and for the life of me i can understand that. yes, sir. >> as the charges about jefferson's sexual relationships with the sally hemmings were developing, and if jefferson were truly in a sense, of course, he would serve no, why
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would the keeper in his household and especially as she continues to have and bear children? >> there were a couple of reasons. first of all, jefferson inherited the entire hemmings family from his father-in-law. in fact, betty hemmings was really the surrogate mother of his wife, martha, so jefferson felt a special affinity for the hemmings from the very start. as everything that i have read in from him and his grandchildren, the hemmings were very trusted, valued servants and this is why they had a special affinity. some say that special affinity was because he was having an affair. no, it was because they were trusted, valued, intellectual people that he had trusted in from his father-in-law. in fact, it was rumored in that
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his father in law was the father of a sally hemmings. this may have been another reason why jefferson and geld and affinity to treat them kind of as part of the family, certainly more special status than the other slaves, not because he was having an affair with her. >> you mentioned in your talk this evening that you had many interviews. could you tell us some stories about the interviews and much to learn that we might find interesting. >> well, the most interesting interview, i flew down to tuscaloosa, alabama, an interview professor forced mcdonald. he was one of the professors and historians who served on the scholars commission and i asked him point blank, i go, tell me what you think is the most
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important point that really proves jefferson's innocence in this whole thing and he said in, it's where you see, let me tell you what people have not seen from the forest from the trees. in thomas jefferson had all female children except for that infants who died. randolph jefferson had six male children. the dna matched a male child. he just told me, what is more common sense, who was more logical as the father of a male child? randolph having six male children or thomas jefferson who had all female children and that kind of dawn on me, that was just one of the things that i learned from interviewing these people. before i even research this book, i really didn't know that thomas jefferson had a younger brother. he was 13 years younger and one
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historian describe him as a half wait. in fact, there is only one book has been written about his brother and that is called the, randolph jefferson -- thomas jefferson and his son and brother and is edited in by bernard mayo i believe and that is the one book about thomas jefferson and that i found the one letter from thomas jefferson to his brother inviting him to monticello the nine months before sally got pregnant. yes, ma'am did you have a question also scored. >> quite some time ago i was reading a biography of jefferson in and of the author discussed a situation about i believe in jefferson's twenties when there was a woman living on a firm with her children, her husband was not present and he had approached her, something -- i'm
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not clear about the details because it's been a time ago. can you talk about that? >> yes, that's called walker of bear. as a young man when he was single he admitted to proposing love and to a handsome woman. her name was mrs. walker, she was married to john walker i believe his name, they were friends and neighbors. later on in life, thomas jefferson erode an apology and admitted that his conduct was completely inappropriate and that's the letter that he wrote to his secretary of the navy, robert smith, where he denied all the other allegations including the sally rumors but admitted in that letter to the walker of bear that he behaved very badly so that was known as the walker of bear and he admitted that. he was yonne, he was rejected, and he knew he acted
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inappropriately. yes, ma'am. >> at the end of the day, how much do you think these reverse have actually heard to the jefferson legacy, both currently serving a but also how much was he really hurts when he was alive? >> well, obviously he wasn't hurt when he was alive because he was reelected in after the 80 node to a calendar article. >> so he was elected twice. i often get asked that question, what doesn't really matter to his legacy and i think malone had a the best line about that. you cannot -- you can never knocked thomas jefferson off his pedestal, but you can scribble graffiti on the statute, and i'm here and hopefully my book is here to raise the graffiti. you know, i had one young lady asked me, which side are you on
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in this controversy? and i answered her, i am on the side of truth. which side are you on? and i think truth always matters and is this is a law which i believe it is. i think truth always matters especially to once legacy. >> i understand that the grave of one of a -- madison, is it, was found and the hemmings are not allowing -- the dna to be taken to show whether he was th son are not. >> that is true, a jefferson family historian by the name of herbert barker has found the grave of the son of madison hammonds. i believe his name is william hemmings. he approached the hemmings and asked them if we do this dna study because they still have the blood, the jefferson blood, and, in fact, if it matched
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let's see what it matches -- the hemmings said absolutely not. there are satisfied with oral history and the dna study at this point and they refuse any further testing on his son. >> [inaudible] >> no, that is in and leavenworth kansas is where he is buried i believe. that is where herbert barker who was one of the technical consultants of my book, actually found the grave. and in case anybody is interested in the subject, there are two other books that i have recommended. one is by an author in charlottesville, shoes and historian. cindy burton, her book is called the jefferson vindicated the kevin and the other is a small book called, the jefferson and hemmings smith. it is edited by beinart coats, both of those are excellent books on the subject, especially cindy's book about the jefferson
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health. it really has the most knowledgeable technical expertise on his health at the time. >> [inaudible] >> the jefferson hemmings meth. in the jeffersons vindicated by cindy burton. yes, sir. >> [inaudible] how many people were on the plantation at any time and that this is an recorded -- >> slaves i believe at the time of his death he had 137 slaves. over his lifetime i believe i have read that he had approximately 200 and that came and went. he allowed some two run away, what he termed a runaway. if they were of a mature age and had a trade he allowed them to run away basically, he freed them and didn't pursue them. but i read that he had on the
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plantation and anywhere from 137 to 200 slaves. >> [inaudible] >> there were many, many people frequenting monticello especially when he came again. in fact, he would pick up his daughter, martha, and martha had 12 children and he would pick up martha and all the grandchildren and take them to monticello. that's another reason why i don't think the sexual relationship is really credible. there were as always family members around, always grandchildren, always children, always family members around to see and have eyes in the years said to have a sexual relationship in front of his own family i think is just really incredible. >> well, i want to thank you very, very much for coming out today and i'll be glad to sign
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any books for anybody who wants to come over and talk to me. thank you so much. [applause] >> william hyland jr. is a trial lawyer and a former prosecutor with over 25 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the floor of a judicial nominating commission. he is a member of the new york and virginia historical societies. for more information visit to william hyland >> while congress is in recess booktv comes to you live in prime time.


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